at the age of 18 i moved from middle class suburbia, to living in a caravan in a roadside field. i had to quickly learn to make radical lifestyle adjustments but had a happy three month solitary experience. it gave me a measure of insight into the lives of ‘Travellers’ – the indigenous ethic Irish Romany-type of people.
Midland nights spent all alone
no near neighbours, no telephone,
in this caravan prayer exploded up;
i drank tea from mugs not cups –
this late-teen slurped, not supped.
rural darkness was curtained off,
in distant fields the cattle coughed,
blessed by buttery-coloured gas light,
reading bible stories through the night;
eighteen years old and i’m alright.
each morning emptied out portaloo
– yuck! – but what else could i do?
caravan home in rural roadside field
behind some hedges, half-concealed;
when i prayed i sat, not kneeled.
i got my water from hand pump,
squeaks came from that rusty sump;
in that small, lonely caravan space
few friends kindled that pilgrim place –
but smiles were seen on God’s good face.
my adventure too soon ended –
did i mention the horses befriended?
in midnight hour my caravan rocked,
grabbed my torch then door unlocked,
large equinine eyes, equally shocked…
photo credit: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2588879